Xenon 2 Megablast is a video game originally produced for the Amiga and Atari ST, and later converted to the PC, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive, Acorn Archimedes and Game Boy platforms. The sequel to Xenon was designed by Bitmap Brothers (although coded by The Assembly Line). It became one of their most well-known titles, and is a classic of its genre.
After the Xenites' defeat in the Galactic Conflict which took place in the first Xenon, they have returned with a plan to wipe out the player's history by planting four bombs in space-time areas. The Megablaster pilot will have to fend off the bizarre wildlife around them. It is necessary to destroy the largest animal in each area as they have been fused with the bomb; once the creature is slain, the bomb is shut off.
Xenon 2 Megablast is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. Unusual for the genre at the time, the player's spaceship can reverse the scrolling of the play area for a limited distance; which is used in the game for defeating bosses, avoiding enemies and escaping dead ends. This game consists of five levels which are each divided into two sections.
The game has a generic sci-fi theme and almost no plot, focusing instead on presentation and gameplay. Indeed, it was the quality of the music and graphics that led to the game's memorability. The graphics bear the trademark "Bitmap Brothers" appearance, with realistic and detailed renditions of rock and metal objects. The enemies are mostly various nondescript organic creatures, plants, bacteria-like lifeforms, though the final levels feature robotics, mechanical enemies, and various artificial hostile entities.
The player of Xenon 2 Megablast must rely heavily on power-ups, which may be gained by shooting power-up containers that appear through the levels. When an enemy or a wave of enemies are destroyed they leave behind credits in the shape of bubbles. Small bubbles are worth 50 credits and large bubbles are worth 100. When a mid-level boss or end of level boss are destroyed, they explode to reveal lots of credit bubbles. Credits are then spent at a shop owned by Crispin The Alien (who bears a remarkable resemblance to the alien from the film Predator). Power-ups of various sorts may be bought there. Accumulating power-ups rewards the player with more heavy-duty firepower. The shop appears mid-level and at the end of the level.
At later levels, getting credit bubbles becomes easier, as certain areas contain an endless supply of enemies – strange bee-like creatures and killer kites – which will always drop a credit bubble upon dying. If the player stays long enough, making slight movements backwards, he can get an enormous amount of credits. This is where a major glitch occurs in Xenon 2; if you accidentally "over-collect" the credit bubbles trying to maximize your money to the highest possible amount, the money counter will simply wrap over back to zero, which the player will find out only upon finishing the level. When this happens the player is left with something like 200 or 500 credits, the game becomes next to impossible, and the player has to start all over again.
The game was ranked the 33rd best game of all time by Amiga Power. In contrast, Amiga Format's review of the CDTV version (Issue 39, October 1992) was very harsh: they rated it a paltry 32%, commenting that, while innovative at the time it was first released, the game had aged poorly and its gameplay was not well balanced.
A recent retrospective look on the Mega Drive version by HonestGamers echoed the sentiment that it had aged very poorly. It also complains about the scaled-back soundtrack and how the console port drops the last level entirely. It scores it a low 3/10.